There Is No Rose

Here is my setting of an anonymous text from around 1420:

It was wonderful to compose this for the Cathedral Singers of Ontario, who I’ve sung with for many years on their visits to the UK, and to sing it with them at Canterbury Cathedral early this month.

1. There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu;

2. For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space;
Res miranda.

3. And by that rose we may well see
That he is God in persons three,
Pari forma.

4. The angels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis deo:

5. Now leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth;

6. Alleluia, res miranda,
Pari forma, gaudeamus,

Res miranda — ‘wonderful thing’ or ‘miracle’
Pari forma — ‘equal in form’ — some sources use “pares forma” here, which is what we sang in Canterbury
Gaudeamus — ‘let us rejoice.’
Transeamus — ‘let us follow’ or ‘let us turn [from earth to heaven]’

As usual, the sheet music for this is available from my page at CPDL — or you can download a pdf directly. I won’t trouble you with the singing robots this time since there is a choral version above! The music is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike, or CC by-SA, which means you can sing it for free — but you must attribute it to me and mention the license, and you must allow recordings to be made.

If you would like to support me in sharing more music like this, you will get a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you are doing good in the world, and if you choose the appropriate support tier you will also receive a postcard of the rose below, which I commissioned from Delyth Williams.

A stained-glass style drawing of a red rose with green leaves, by Delyth Williams, used by permission